Maintaining your Health over the Silly Season

With the end of year encroaching, work dos, holidays, Christmas, New Year’s parties and social events inevitable, it can be a little too easy to over indulge! Undoing the hard work you’ve put in to look great for your big day!

I’ve got you covered! Below are my 7 top tips to keep you looking great and still enjoy the festivities of the holiday season.

1. Start the day with a healthy breakfast

If you are planning an evening out its essential to start your day with well balanced breakfast.

A fantastic option is a genius bowl of nourishing oats (cool overnight oats is wonderful for those hotter mornings) balance your oats out with a dollop of sugar free probiotic yogurt, sprinkle of cinnamon, and a handful of nuts, seeds and berries. Mixing a scoop of protein powder in will support blood sugar balance even better!

This helps control appetite later in the day, additionally the probiotic yogurt will help support the immune system and promote digestive health, as well as combat negative effects of the party season, like too much alcohol and not enough sleep.

2. Stay hydrated

On the day of a big night out, and the day after, make a conscious effort to drink eight-ten glasses of water, and/or plenty of herbal teas. Even mild dehydration can lead to a headache and combined with the diuretic effects of alcohol, makes maintaining your fluid intake so important. Caffeinated drinks like coffee/black tea shouldn’t make up your full quota. If you struggle to drink enough water when it’s cold/plain spice it up, add some mint, ginger or squeeze of lemon, adding a little warm water may help too.

3. Include healthy and well-timed snacks

Don’t turn up to a party hungry! It’s a way to fast track yourself to the canapés. Prior to your event have a healthy pre-party snack. A good option is small pot of plain yogurt/coconut yogurt with sliced banana. Protein in yogurt slows stomach emptying, which helps delay the effects of that first glass of wine while the potassium-rich banana helps balance any increase in my salt intake – especially helpful if olives, crisps or salted nuts are on the party menu. Other snacks which do the trick include whole grain toast/rice cracker with nut butter, or a mug of chunky vegetable soup.

4. Make healthier choices at party buffets

Buffets can be a disaster zone, fill half your plate with salad and vegetables, and the rest with protein-based foods like salmon and chicken. Take your time selecting and eating your food (slow down and chew each mouthful!) then move away from the table as soon you’re done to avoid non-stop grazing.

5. Prevent a hangover

Don’t be tempted to skip meals so you can stockpile calories for drinking. Alcohol supplies empty calories only, so avoiding proper meals to compensate for a booze splurge means you’re losing out on valuable nutrients, just when your body needs them to help it detoxify. To help prevent a hangover, stick to one type of drink, make it a lighter-coloured one because they tend to be lower in the chemical by-products that can worsen a hangover. Aim to have no more than one alcoholic drink an hour, alternated with sparkling water, or low sugar kombucha, or a mocktail made by mixing them both! – Perfect if you don’t like holding an empty glass.

6. Eat well the morning after

A great ‘morning after’ breakfast is a frittata or omelette packed with veg. Include mushrooms for their energising B vitamins, tomatoes for vitamin C and onions for their liver-friendly sulphur compounds and spinach, a great source of folate which helps repair DNA. Eggs are an excellent choice for the morning after because they provide choline, a nutrient that supports the liver. Add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or a chopped chilli to boost circulation and rev up your recovery. If you can’t face a cooked breakfast then have a protein smoothie made with fruits like bananas, oranges or kiwi and coconut water – these are rich in potassium which helps replenish the electrolytes lost due to the diuretic effects of alcohol.

7. Get right back on track

After you’ve had a big night, don’t skip meals! Even if you have over-indulged. It’s the balance of your diet that’s important. Rather, apply the 80:20 principle – eating healthily 80% of the time, this allows you the space for delicious treats at weekends and on special occasions.

Author, Jess Wharton – Registered Clinical Nutritionist

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